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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Antivaxxers and the Insurrection

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.  Our next book, Divided We Stand, looks at the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection.

At AP, Michelle R. Smith and Johnatan Reiss report on antivaccine entrepreneurs Ty and Charlene Bollinger:
The Bollingers last year founded a political action committee called United Medical Freedom Super PAC, which raised more than $60,000 in donations, according to reports Ty Bollinger filed with the Federal Election Commission. A chiropractor who has been featured as an “expert” in their videos donated multiple times, twice in the amount of $1,776 -- a phrase that later became a rallying cry for insurrectionists as they stormed the Capitol. Super PACs can raise unlimited money from individuals and corporations to spend on independent political activities

In a video posted on the Super PAC website 10 months ago, Charlene Bollinger explained to [Robert] Kennedy that anti-vaccine influencers have to band together, “Because we know the other side, they’re working together. They’re very efficient. They’ve got their agendas,” she said.

One person it has supported is Roger Stone. United Medical Freedom paid the conservative political consultant, lobbyist and adviser to then-President Donald Trump more than $11,000 on Dec. 18. Stone told the AP that the money was for an appearance he made at a rally in Nashville in October.

Stone also was billed as the keynote speaker for the event the Bollingers held near the U.S. Capitol the afternoon of the Jan. 6, promoted as the “MAGA Freedom Rally D.C.,” which blended anti-vaccine “health freedom” activism with “Stop the Steal” rhetoric. Stone said he was supposed to speak at 3:40 p.m. but decided not to go because of the violence at the Capitol that day.

“I had no interest in going up to the capitol under those circumstances,” Stone said, adding that he was never supposed to be paid for speaking at the Jan. 6 event.

Video of the event was livestreamed but has since been made private. However, video posted online in various places shows it lasting for hours. Charlene Bollinger was emcee, calling for Congress to “Stop the Steal” as the rally kicked off following Trump’s speech that day.

Several people prominent in the anti-vaccine movement spoke, including Mikki Willis, who made the conspiracy movie “Plandemic.” He told the crowd he had just left the chaos at the Capitol.

“Our proud patriots just pushed through a line of riot police peacefully, as peacefully as that could happen, and are now at the stairs, at the doors of the Capitol,” Willis said from the stage. “And it was a beautiful thing to see.”

Charlene Bollinger cheered the Capitol breach.

“The Capitol has been stormed by patriots, we’re here for this reason, we are winning.” She added: “We are at war.”

Later that day, Ty Bollinger told the online “Robert Scott Bell Show” that he had been “maced” that day and had been among the people who crowded at the doors of the Capitol in an attempt to get inside, though he said he did not enter.

He called then-Vice President Mike Pence a “traitor,” called the people who got inside the building “patriots” and said “today, people’s true colors are being made known.”